Apply Now for Conference Scholarships

Scholarships are available for two young and/or emerging visual artists to attend the Center’s next Conversations conference, April 28–30, 2017, at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. At least two applicants who demonstrate financial need and creative work may be awarded docent scholarships, which provide attendance, lodging, and partial travel expenses in exchange for limited volunteer service at the conference. The deadline for applications is Monday, February 20, by 8:00 a.m. CST. Recipients will be notified by February 24. Download the application to get started.

Behind Broad Street, Waverly, NY, 2013Behind Broad Street, Waverly, New York, 2013, by John Sanderson, recipient of a 2013 docent scholarship.

Worldwide Winners of the 2016 Awards Program

Simon Jowett of the United Kingdom (above) and Olaf Haensch of Germany and have won first prize in the 2016 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program, in the “mobile device” and “most evocative” categories, respectively. Haensch won previously in 2008 and took second in 2009; Jowett is a first-time entrant. Second prizes went to Slovenia’s Miško Kranjec—another past winner—for “evocative,” and first-time entrant Ryder Bechtold of Denver, Colorado, for “mobile.” Charles McCreary of Minnesota and Jeremy J. Schrader of Illinois received the third prize awards, rounding out the top winners. Additionally, the judges selected a total of thirty-one images in their two “Also Liked” categories. We will soon add additional submissions for public viewing in a first-time web gallery.

Each of the three judges remarked that this year’s field was especially competitive, and that picking the winners was extremely difficult. The 331 entries came from 141 photographers living in more than thirty different states and ten countries—the second-most submissions all-time in a CRPA contest. After reviewing the images on their own, the judges spent more than four hours discussing and debating their final decisions. All of us at the Center extend our congratulations to the winners, thank the judges for their time and efforts, and thank everyone who submitted. Your work inspires us, and we can hardly wait to see what you will do next.

See all of the winners and read the judges’ commentary on the 2016 Awards page.

First Place: Simon Jowett

First Place: Olaf Haensch

Conversations Northeast

The Center’s first regionally-themed conference about railroad photography and art, Conversations Northeast, was a great success. Attendance was 115 for the one-day event, held on October 29, 2016, at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. Attendees came from fifteen different states. The conference, co-hosted by Archives & Special Collections of the UConn Library, featured seven presentations and three exhibitions at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. In the view at right, presenter Victor Hand shared his diesel-era photographs from the northeastern U.S. and around the world in “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Diesel.” Photograph by Steve Barry, Railfan & Railroad. See more photographs on the conference page.

Victor Hand

Awards Entries Up

Submissions to the 2016 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program are up fifty percent over last year. The deadline to enter was November 2, 2016. This year’s awards program offered two categories, one for recent images made with mobile devices, and one for your most evocative images of all-time. We will announce the winners in December 2016. See all the details at: 2016 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards

Conversations 2016 reaches new heights

The Center’s annual Conversations conference sold out for the third consecutive year, with 180 attendees coming to Lake Forest College, thirty miles north of Chicago, from thirty-seven different states and four foreign countries. The weekend included lively social hours, stimulating discussions, and a diverse lineup of informative, engaging, and entertaining presentations.

Friday featured an opening reception banquet with live music by Charlie Castner and Ron Flanary, and a photography exhibition by John Sanderson. Saturday’s full day of presentations began with Wendy Burton and Kevin Keefe discussing their new book, Railroad Vision, followed by artist J. Craig Thorpe’s engaging look at concept art. Tony Reevy shared photographer Jack Delano’s trip across the Santa Fe from his recent book about Delano, while Ron Hill gave a retrospective of his black-and-white photography. Sanderson presented his railroad landscapes, and Steve Patterson concluded the day with a lively look back at his career as both railroader and photographer. A reception followed in the college’s elegant Glen Rowan House with print and book sales and signings.

Todd Halamka kicked off Sunday morning with his stunning color photography from around the world, and then Steve Barry provided an introduction to drones and railroad photography. Emily Moser shared her photography and reflections from “Riding the Harlem Line and Beyond.” Alan Shaw offered a look at Australia’s quirky railroads, while John Gruber and John Ryan wrapped up with the weekend and a detailed look at the lives and photography of Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg. Mark your calendars now for Conversations 2017, April 28-30 at Lake Forest College.

See eighty photographs from the weekend on Flickr by Hank Koshollek.

Steve Barry
Steve Barry, editor of Railfan & Railroad magazine, gave an overview of using photography drones at the Center’s Conversations 2016 conference, which sold out for the third consecutive year.